Woman, 90, infected with Alpha and Beta Covid variants at the same time | Coronavirus

A 90-year-old Belgian woman who died after falling ill with Covid-19 was infected with both the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus, researchers have said.

The unvaccinated woman was admitted to the OLV hospital in the city of Aalst after a series of falls in March and tested positive for Covid-19 the same day.

While her oxygen levels were initially good, her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died five days later.

She was found to be a carrier of both the Alpha strain and the Beta variant.

“These two variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is likely that the lady was co-infected with different viruses from two different people,” said molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen of the OLV hospital who led the research.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know how she got infected.”

Vankeerberghen said it was difficult to say whether the co-infection played a role in the patient’s rapid deterioration.

The research, which has yet to be submitted to a medical journal for publication, is being presented at a European Congress on Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

While Vankeerberghen said there had been “no other published cases” of similar co-infections, she added that the “phenomenon is probably underestimated”.

This was due to the limited number of tests for variants of concern, she said, calling for an increase in the use of rapid PCR tests to detect known variants.

In January, Brazilian scientists reported that two people were simultaneously infected with two different strains of the coronavirus, but the study has yet to be published in a scientific journal.

Lawrence Young, virologist and professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, said it was no surprise to find an individual infected with more than one strain.

“This study highlights the need for more studies to determine whether infection with multiple variants of concern affects the clinical course of Covid-19 and whether this in any way compromises the effectiveness of the vaccination.” , did he declare.

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